Patrick Bevin prefers the Tokyo Olympics to the Tour de France
TIM DE WAELE / Getty Images
Patrick Bevin will represent New Zealand in the men’s time trial at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Swerving in the Tour de France was ultimately an easy decision for cyclist Patrick Bevin.
New Zealand’s top time trial representative was selected on Thursday to represent his country at its first Olympic Games and will now have a full month to prepare for his specialist event, giving Bevin the best chance of winning a medal in Tokyo.
“Look, you don’t have much of a chance to go to the Olympics,” he said.
Tokyo-bound cyclist George Bennett leaves the disappointing Giro d’Italia campaign.
“The Tour de France is there every year and I had the chance to line up as a couple and get the t-shirt, but it’s a pretty horrible experience.
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“It’s tough, it’s three weeks and I think people forget how hard a Grand Tour is, so to juggle that directly at the Olympics this year was a no-go.”
The versatile runner Israel Start-Up Nation will play a key supporting role for George Bennett in the road race before focusing on the time trial where he profiles as an outside shot to win a medal on a favorable course.
Bevin said it was a privilege to be named to New Zealand’s 19-player Olympic cycling team.
“It is a huge honor to be selected for the Olympic Games. This is my first Olympics and I’m really excited.
“It’s been the cornerstone of my season this year and it’s something that has been built over the past few years. “
Rider Taupō was initially considered for selection for the Tour de France, but good form at the Tour de Romandie, registering two podiums, saw him chosen to compete instead of the Giro d’Italia.
Unfortunately, he suffered mechanical problems on both stages of the Giro time trial and did not achieve the results he would have liked on his sixth Grand Tour.
But the silver lining for Bevin is that he was now free to focus on training exclusively for the Olympics, giving him the best chance for success in Tokyo.
“In the two time trials I had mechanics so I couldn’t put any points on the board there, but it’s just one of those things that happens. It’s just unfortunate that this has happened twice in three weeks, ”he said.
“Until shortly before the Giro, everything revolved around the Tour and then given my form, I got into very good shape through the Tour du Pays Basque and the Tour de Romandie and the option of going to the Giro and not the Tour presented itself, and for me that was a better option.
The Tour de France will run from June 26 to July 18, which means back-up runners at the Olympics will have less than a week between races. Bevin felt it was too “risky” for him to juggle the two flagship events.
“Depending on how you ride the Tour, you could very well come out of the Tour in excellent form for the time trial,” he said, “but it was risky, and once I got the chance to juggle my season, it opened up this block to prepare for Tokyo, and I took that option with the blessing of the team, and it gave me a real chance to prepare for the best possible way.
The time trial at the Olympics will take place over a 44.2 km hilly course that begins and ends at Fuji International Speedway, which hosted the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2007 and 2008.
Bevin finished fourth at the World Championship in 2019 and 12th last year.
“It’s hilly but nothing crazy, quite similar to the worlds of Innsbruck a few years ago and not a world far from Yorkshire in 2019.
“It’s more or less adapting the training to the course and not going on the Tour was a big victory there to prepare me for the time trial.
“Even though there are a few time trials on the Tour, they’re mostly flat and it’s a different ball game.”